Having to Write and Wanting to Write

35554-ferry-beach-quillen2-e1408992571644So I have mentioned in another post that I have taken a writing workshop for many years at Ferry Beach Park Association. As it turns out, I had the honor of teaching it this year because the regular workshop leader, Jim Ellefson, wasn’t able to make it. I am still digesting aspects of the week, but it was truly a pleasure. We gathered every morning for 3 hours in a covered pavilion under the pine trees, steps from the Atlantic Ocean, and read, and wrote, and wrote some more. There were 18 fine people, ranging from their 20s to their 70s and older. Many people, like myself, have done the workshop many times before, and come ready to work. Some have projects in mind, others come and write what moves them at the time.

And people worked. Goodness, did they work. When I read a poem the first session and suggested a prompt, it was off to the metaphorical races. Pen and paper came out, and people started writing. A few minutes in, I realized the different landscape I was in compared to my normal classroom. If a ten minute prompt in my college writing class was going to yield a paragraph or two from most students, this group was going to produce pages.

Herein is the difference–or at least one of the differences–between the student who has to take writing and the student who wants to take writing. So perhaps the question for me in all classrooms, is how do I help students turn that corner, to gain that enthusiasm.

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